Thousands of tonnes of plastic recycling are secretly burnt for fuel
Millions of plastic pots, tubs and trays placed in recycling bins are secretly being incinerated because of a lack of specialist facilities to process them.
According to a source from The Times, a lack of specialist facilities has led to large amounts of plastic being collected from homes and being burned to generate electricity, rather than being turned into new products. The source goes on to claim that over half the pots, tubs and trays that people are recycling could be ending up in incinerators.
Although, incineration may be viewed as a better solution for waste than landfill, it can cause large amounts of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The UK lacks facilities to process the large amount of plastic recycling, and until recently was sending about two thirds of its plastic packaging waste to be processed overseas.
About 10-12% of the material sent to recycling sorting centres ends up being incinerated and much of this is pots, tubs and trays, the survey found.
Julian Kirby, plastic pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: “People doing their best to recycle plastic waste will be rightly appalled to find out that it’s ending up in incinerators.
“The only way out of the plastic pollution crisis is to radically reduce how much plastic we produce in the first place. The sooner the UK government legislates to make this happen the sooner we’ll be able to stop burning the stuff and dumping it on vulnerable communities overseas.”
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